Mini Notebooks


The next best thing to pretty fabric is pretty paper! Although I don’t scrapbook, I love to walk through that department at my favorite craft/sewing stores and couldn’t resist buying this beautiful collection when I saw it marked down from $19.99 to $9.99. (Click on photo for a larger view.) Of course, then I had to come up with a project for it, so here it is! Start by buying some mini composition notebooks. (Target has two-packs for 99 cents.) Then . . .

(1) Use a notebook to make a pattern on a piece of cardboard. Leave a little extra on both sides to fold over the front and back notebook covers, and mark where all the folds should go.

(2) Use the pattern to cut out the scrapbook paper and to draw the fold lines on the back.

Inside Front

Inside Back

(3) Fold on the lines the wrong way and then the right way, making firm creases. Then glue the cover onto the notebook starting with the spine, then the covers, then the flaps.

Following are three additional options you can use to “dress up” your notebook . . . choose one, two, or all three. For me, what I chose depended on the cover design. For example, one has cute little birds on it and a spine cover would have hidden one of them, and another has words on it so I didn’t want to cover them with a label.

OPTION 1: BEFORE gluing on the cover, put a colored brad about ½ inch from the middle of the edge on both the front and back cover. Put a small coated ponytail rubber band  around the back-cover brad and fasten the brad as tightly as possible. Leave the brad on the front cover a bit loose. Then, after you glue the cover onto the notebook, pull the rubber band from the back and loop it over the front brad.



OPTION 2: Choose a contrasting or coordinating strip of paper for a spine cover, prepare the folds, and glue it onto the spine, holding it for a bit until the glue dries.

OPTION 3: Make a small name label out of another scrap. If you like, make “stitches” around the edges with a colored pen.

Your notebook is now ready to toss into your purse or give away . . . perfect for a small hostess or gal-pal gift. Or, turn it into an extra-special greeting card by writing a happy birthday/get well soon/congratulations/thinking of you message on the front page of the notebook for the recipient to discover and putting it in a colorful envelope.  Now, what to make with the rest of this fun paper . . . ♥  UPDATE: Click here for MORE mini-notebook!

135 responses »

  1. Thanks for the cutest little tutorial ever. I love these.

    The only thing I’m afraid of is when I start making these I may not be able to stop…….

    BTW I loved it so much I ‘press[ed] it’ onto my other blog of free to use awesome patterns and how to’s (
    you will get a ping back confirming – that should increase your stats.

    Awesome love your work!

    from Peppermia.x

    • Thank you! That’s so sweet of you! But you’re right about not being able to stop making these. Plus, they’re so much fun to give away! And the part about using them as greeting cards really works. They’re less than a dollar to make and less than two dollars to mail, and with a message inside they’re a card and gift all rolled into one. I sent out two yesterday for graduates, one is going out to a new retiree today and another to a friend who’s on bedrest for a month . . . I’ll be making more this weekend! 🙂

  2. What a good idea! They are so cute. I agree with you about the paper. I purchased some pretty paper and I don’t scrap either. I just couldn’t resist.

  3. These notebooks are just too cute, and fun idea! I was just a bit confused about how to place the brads. Am I to insert the brads through the paper (prior glueing like you stated)? And when you say tighten does that mean inserting it to the very end whereas the front cover brad isn’t? I’m sorry, I can be slow sometimes:P

    • You said it perfectly! 🙂 Just poke the brads through the paper, push the one on the back all the way through and flatten it tightly (to hold the rubber band in place), but leave the one in the front sticking up a wee bit (to loop the rubber band around). I may also try using embroidery floss or yarn in place of the rubber bands sometime and just wrap it around the front brad. Have fun making your notebooks . . . can’t wait to see them! 🙂

    • Thank you! They make kind of a modern contrast to the old-fashioned designs on the paper. But I may try using braided embroidery floss in place of the rubber band sometime, too, and just wrap it around the front brad. We’ll see! 🙂

  4. Oh I love these…..pinning now. I’m so sick of buying toys for my girls when they don’t use them and am looking for fabulous ideas that I can make to give them (and others). This would make a perfect gift. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. What a great idea. I love notebooks, can’t stop buyin’ em. Now I could actually make my own. Love it! ( and, thanks for giving me a ‘like”). I’m going to keep reading, you’ve have wonderful ideas.

  7. I’ve done a few projects like this in the past when I was short on cash but needed a little gift of some sort for a special someone in my life. I like how you made a clasp; mine didn’t have that. Great idea!

    Thanks for the ‘like’ today on my blog featuring my art project. You have some cute ideas on here, I am going to follow you so I can continue to be inspired by your work!

    • Thank you and thank you! I think you could also use yarn or embroidery floss for the clasp and just wrap it around the front brad. Oh, and I’m following your blog, too! 🙂

  8. Why didn’t I think of that?? I’ve tried fabric covers and paper covers but they are messy and end up sliding around. So glueing them straight to the notebook is great! Can’t wait to make a few (at least). Thanks for the idea!

  9. Brilliant! I couldn’t resist to buy a nice polka dot scrapbook paper as well a couple of months ago. Until now it was waiting on my desk for a nice little project. I think I will use the notebook to write down the times I will nurse my baby in 5 weeks! 🙂

    • Ooohhh . . . that is so sweet! Congratulations on your new little one! And it will be so much fun to have something new and pretty to use. Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

  10. great, great idea – I’ve done a cloth cover before for these little notebooks, but not a scrapbook paper cover. I have a lot of scrapbook paper, too (another of my OCDs at one time). I wonder if I could modify this idea and make a little pointy-type scrapbook paper thingy (I specialize in technical terminology) that comes to the front of the book, instead of the little rubber band, since I don’t have the bands but DO have the paper and peel-n-stick velcro. Hmmmm….now I gotta try it!!!

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  13. I really like these. I did some afrocentric ones awhile back. I think I may need to revisit beings as though I am always looking for a great notebook. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • I’m glad you like them! 🙂 I’ve given almost all of them away now, so I’m looking forward to making more. They’re perfect for small gifts . . . and even “greeting cards” by writing a message inside. I’d love to see yours . . . are they on your blog? 🙂

      • No. I’ve done them many years ago. I may make some soon with my daughter who loves to write poetry.

  14. A gal after my own heart. Buying scrapbooking paper when I don’t even scrapbook just because it’s so gorgeous is SO something I would do. I’ve been itching to buy some of that fabulous paper, but know it will be years before I can scrapbook. Thanks for the idea, I can go buy it now.


  15. I love this idea! I too love scrapbook paper and use it a lot in art. Most stacks give you 3 or 4 of the same kinds of papers so this will be a great way to use up some of the extras.

  16. Great dollsize gift, too. I’ve made magazines for dolls before, but hadn’t thought of using the mini-notebooks before.

  17. Wow, I can see you have brought joy to and inspired a lot of people! Thanks for this and I am glad someone has asked you about the placement of the brads before glueing as I was a little unclear as to whether you meant the flaps or the front cover. Now, it is all clear and a great addition to my primitive covering of books done previously. They will look so much more professional with this technique. Will pop back to follow you more again….

  18. What a fabulous idea! Though it might result in me collecting paper like I do fabric… it is so hard to resist, even though I do not scrapbook either.

    • Thank you! I have to make myself walk away (or not walk down the paper aisle!) when I go to Michael’s! 🙂 Oh, and I LOVE the baby nursery items on your blog! Since I got to make some fun things for the newest little guy in our family just last week, I’m all eyes and ears for everyone else’s ideas. Everything is adorable! 🙂

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  20. These are lovely, such a nice idea – I’ve been meaning to make covers using fabric for a while but I might do paper too!

  21. I also love to make mini notebooks. I use washi tape, other decorative tapes, and I also have a xyron creative station I use to make scrapbook paper and cloth adhesive for these.

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